Austria says to turn away migrants aiming to pass through Germany

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 15, 2016 3:19 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria will deny entry to migrants who intend to pass through Germany rather than apply for asylum there, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said in a radio interview broadcast on Friday.

Germany has been turning away a growing number of migrants at its border with Austria, sending hundreds back into Austria every day, the Austrian police said this week.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have streamed through Austria and into Germany since September, when the two countries threw open their borders to a wave of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Only about 90,000 have applied for asylum in Austria last year but fears about migrants have nevertheless contributed to a rise in support for the far right.

Government ministers from the Social Democrats and their junior coalition partner, the Austrian People's Party, have said more must be done to reduce the number of people arriving, though they have disagreed on how to achieve that.

"What is the situation currently on the German-Austrian border? That only those who want asylum in Germany are being let through, and those who want to travel onwards are sent back," Mikl-Leitner told Austrian broadcaster ORF.

"We will stop them directly on our southern border as of the end of next week," she said, referring to the country's border with Slovenia.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Louise Ireland)